Friday, March 16, 2007

Text Clouds: A New Form of Tag Cloud?

Text Clouds making print media ...

"During 2006, tag clouds moved beyond their well-known role as navigation mechanisms and indicators of activity within social media experiences, emerging as a standard visualization technique for texts and textual data in general.

This use of tag clouds does not commonly involve tags, social networks, emergent architectures, folksonomies, or metadata.

"Text cloud" might be a more accurate label for these visualizations than tag cloud. In addition to recognizing fundamental differences - text clouds differ from tag clouds in composition (no tags at all) and purpose (predominantly comprehension, rather than access or navigation) - distinguishing the two types of clouds will make it much easier to assess their abilities to support user experience needs and business goals.

The emergence of this new form of text cloud looks like a good example of speciation in action (though it's too early to tell whether the end result will be cladogenesis or anagenesis).

Major and minor publications feature(d) text clouds as visualizations in 2006, both permanently and temporarily:

• The New York Times cloud of most searched items
• The Economist topics cloud
• The Vancouver Sun feature on real estate prices by neighborhood
• discussion on Read/Write Web
• even a book in progress"    (Continued via Joe    [Usability Resources]

Economist Text Cloud - Usability, User Interface Design

Economist Text Cloud


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